Metallurgy´s histoy in Malaga.
Writen by : Trinidad Fernández González
Titular Teacher Civi Engeniering Teacher
Escuela Politécnica Universitaria
University of Málaga
In order to discover the origins of the metal industry in Málaga, we must go back to the time of the Phoenicians. The development and growth of this industry was clearly of great importance to these people, given that the Phoenician coins which have been found in excavations in our province, have on one face an image of the god Vulcan, patron of seafarers and metalworkers, together with a pair of Blacksmith's tongs.
In the 16th Century, almost all of the canon supplied to the Spanish navy and the garrisons in Africa, came from foundries in Málaga.
The invention of the blast furnace led to great advances in the iron and steel industry. In Málaga, in 1725, one of the first blast furnaces in Spain made its appearance, set in the Ronda Mountains, at the confluence of the two branches of the river Genal, in a foundry called the Royal Factory of San Miguel. Which specialized in the production of tinplate. The technology behind its manufacture was little known in Spain, until such time as the Basque Provinces and other regions began to use it, in the later part of the 18th Century.
The 19th Century witnessed the greatest achievements in the Spanish iron and steel industry, in our city, thanks to the work of M.A. Heredia. The need for iron hoops for the barrels of wine which he exported to America, led to the development of this enterprise called La Concepción, which began in Marbella. On the banks of the River Verde, 11 kilometres from the iron ore deposits at the eastern end of the Sierra Blanca. Production soon doubled, leading to the creation of a new foundry, La Constancia, situated on the Shores of San Andrés. To give us an idea of the size of this factory, more than 2000 people worked there and just in this one there were 5 blast furnaces, 22 Puddler furnaces, 2 reheating furnaces, etc., etc. Thanks to this company, Málaga had his first train, subsidised by M.A. Heredia, which ran from Málaga to Cordoba, bringing back the much sought after coal from Belmez.
Málaga and its business interests have always been closely linked to the metallurgical industry. Today, in the 21st Century, this industry continues to flourish thanks to its log tradition, and to the skill, the ingenuity and the tenacity which characterize the people of this region.
Trinidad Fernández González
Lecturer at the University of Málaga